Saturday, 5 November 2011

Rally over fire station closure

Firefighters in the West Midlands are staging a rally against the possible closure of Halesowen Fire Station.Supporters of the campaign will be gathering in Somers' Square in Halesowen town centre.

Andy Dennis, secretary of the Fire Brigades Union said: "This is about community and public safety, we don't want to see that cover disappear."

 The West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority said the merger of Halesowen and Cradley Heath would go ahead. Speaking on Monday, John Edwards, chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "The decision to create an alternative single station for the Halesowen and Cradley Heath area was taken in 2009.

"The merger of the current two stations into one single facility will go ahead."

He said the authority had lost £10m of its budget since 2009 because of government cuts and expected to lose a further £20m over the next three years.

"Staying as we are is not an option as we prepare for the biggest financial reductions we have ever faced," added Mr Edwards.

Mr Dennis said 500 people had signed a petition against the closure of the stations. A final decision on creating a single station in the area served by the two current stations will be made on 28 November.

(acknowledgemnts to  and Ged Hickman)

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